Mill 180 Park is a park, and parks are supposed to have things growing in them. So, where are ours?
Well, most indoor growing facilities restrict access for a very good reason: PESTS. The typical hydroponic urban farm has robots taking care of its plants, with human workers required to don clean suits when they enter the grow area. However, being a park, we do not limit where visitors can go. Our greenery is to be experienced – and, if acceptable, to be eaten.
Pests are not normally a problem for us. Our plants tend to be healthy. As a result, they usually can stand up to whatever little friends our visitors accidentally bring into the Park. Every now and then, though, the balance shifts in favor of the pests. That happened this summer. We do not use pesticides, and spraying neem oil and insecticidal soap did not do the trick. So, we went to Plan B: pulling out all the infested plants, thoroughly washing the Production Room, and starting over from scratch.
We are currently germinating kale, arugula, and lettuce. Our Head Farmer is trying something new to speed things along. He believes that germinating seeds in the hydroponic systems’ NFT rails works better than starting the seeds in germination trays and then transferring the seedlings to those rails. We are trying that and will post regular updates about our progress.